Duke and I are on a 4 week vacation in Australia. We are discovering that internet access is usually fairly expensive. So even though I have written several blog posts is has been difficult to get them posted. The internet carrier at this hotel charges by the minute and by the megabyte uplaoded so there may not be many pictures in this post.I'll add more later when we have better internet.
We left Undara National Park on Tuesday morning and drove south again. The road was sometimes very good and sometimes only one paved lane. We went through miles and miles of bush with no towns and we saw very few cars. I’m really glad we took this route. It was really interesting. We saw lots of road trains – semi trucks with 3 trailers that are as much as 55 meters long. We stopped to stretch at every settlement / petrol station along the road and got to Charters Towers mid afternoon.
Charters Towers was founded as a gold mining town and has a lot of beautiful old buildings including a stock exchange. We drove up to Tower Hill Lookout and watched the sunset. They had a movie about the history of the area and picnic tables. When a family came up to eat their fish and chips we got to see some rock wallabies that came out for some of the chips. A rock wallaby isn’t much bigger than a squirrel.
We saw the ruins of a tall brick chimney that was part of the gold processing plant. Apparently during World War II the Americans asked the Australians to demolish the chimney because it could have been a navigation aid for the Japanese if they invaded. The chimney was also a hazard for airplanes and there was a large American air base nearby.
During the afternoon we walked down Gill Street and did some shopping. Duke got a new Australian hat. Everyone is so friendly. When we exchanged some money the teller at the bank commiserated with us about the strong U.S. dollar and told us she just placed an order with Sheplers the American western store for jeans because the week US dollar makes it really cheap to order the jeans from the U.S. The lady in the phone store helped us figure out how to recharge our cell phone since it was the first time we had done it. She was also able to translate when we said add minutes to our phone. In Australian that is – recharge our mobile.
On Wednesday we drove from Charters Towers to Carnarvon Gorge National Park (about 441miles). It was a fairly long day but we did make several short stops. We just missed hitting a couple of kangaroos. Thank goodness!
In Emerald we stopped to see the world’s largest Van Gogh Sunflowers painting and stopped at the bottle shop to buy wine and at the grocery store to get some food for dinner.
We stayed in very nice tent cabins at Takarakka Bush Resort just outside Carnarvan Gorge National Park and had a great dinner of smoked oysters, cheese, and crackers, wine and for desert Cadburys chocolate. We ate our dinner sitting on the veranda of our cabin. We even got to watch a spider building his web near our table.